SUFFOLK FA have entered a partnership with innovative grassroots football organisation GiveToLocal.
The move sees Suffolk become the latest county Football Association to enter a formal partnership with GiveToLocal.
The agreement seeks to transform the grassroots game by securing funding for local teams across the county of Suffolk.
The move further strengthens GiveToLocal’s ambition to put £5m per year into football in an effort to keep the game sustainable.
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “We’re really looking forward to working closely with GiveToLocal.
“Through this partnership, the Suffolk FA and GiveToLocal can work together to support grassroots football clubs.
“The partnership is an exciting opportunity to build investment between clubs, businesses and local people and we want our clubs to take advantage of GiveToLocal’s innovative service.”
GiveToLocal was established in 2019 and aims to increase the funding available to grassroots clubs across the UK by bringing communities together and engaging local businesses.
The organisation has already secured the backing of a number of regional FAs and high-profile Premier League supporters include Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum, Leicester City’s Ayoze Perez and Newcastle United’s Jonjo Shelvey.
And its sustainable income model, supported by a user-friendly application and incentivised giving approach, has never been more relevant as the Coronavirus outbreak affects sport organisations across the board.
As a result of the uncertainty caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, the challenges facing grassroots football are greater than ever.
Jodie added: “The most obvious concern is the reduction in income and cashflow as the use of club facilities reduces dramatically.
“There are a number of potential risks. Clubs may need to use cash reserves where available, reduce any contractual staffing numbers, explore costly loans or banking measures, or even enter into significant and potentially terminal debts.
“This makes it a very important time for the grassroots community, its members and all football organisations to come together and offer as much flexibility, collaboration and support as we can to safeguard the game and its members.
“The reduction in on-field activity does raise the importance of alternative income streams such as fundraising tools like GiveToLocal.
“I would encourage any clubs who are interested in discussing fundraising, grants, partnerships and other supporting schemes available to make contact so that we can talk them through what’s available.”
While there are many challenges ahead, Jodie encouraged everyone involved within grassroots football to band together to ensure that there is a future for the game moving forward.
She said: “Grassroots clubs are pivotal organisations within their local communities, often supporting hundreds of local people to be active.
“Just like grassroots football clubs, GiveToLocal encourages communities to work together to support each other towards a shared cause.
“There’s no doubt this is going to be a challenging time for clubs and the team at the Suffolk FA is committed to providing the support and flexibility needed over the coming weeks.
“The support of individuals and businesses within the local area is so important, now more than ever before.
“In terms of safeguarding the future of football clubs, we believe that GiveToLocal can provide valuable support for clubs to achieve this.”
Jodie’s positive message was echoed by GiveToLocal Chief Executive Neil Gardiner, who agreed that now is a time for clubs, businesses and communities to come together and tackle key issues shaping the current climate.
“We’re really pleased to have formally entered into a partnership with the Suffolk FA,” said Gardiner.
“I’d like to thank Colin [Stromsoy, Director of Strategic Partnerships at GiveToLocal] and Jodie for the work that they have done to make this partnership happen.
“It’s such a positive move - not just for the grassroots clubs across the county of Suffolk but also for local businesses in the local area.
“It’s especially important right now, given the challenging times ahead.
“To be able to support a local FA like Suffolk - an organisation overseeing a large county with so many clubs - is great news.
“Geographically, GiveToLocal’s North East base could hardly be further away from Suffolk but this relationship throws into sharp focus the fact that grassroots football in the UK is one big community.
“It doesn’t matter where you live, where you work or where you play your football. The grassroots game links communities and it always has done.
“From day one we have been keen to share our vision for what GiveToLocal can actually do for grassroots clubs.
“Bringing partners on board like the Suffolk FA is going to help make that vision a reality.”
For more information on GiveToLocal and to sign up to their unique service visit GiveToLocal by clicking here